MLK Day provides opportunity for service and reflection

Published 7:47 am Saturday, January 18, 2020


Community columnist

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is one of my favorite holidays. It is a time where many perform some type of public service to benefit their community. However, the meaning behind MLK day is much more important. It is a day to celebrate a man who made great contributions to our world and did so without violence. 

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It seems that anytime we watch the news these days, there is someone somewhere who is unhappy with their situation and the first thing they do is turn to violence. They fight the police, each other, and more often than not, they destroy the things in their own neighborhood. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is not the smartest thing to do. 

King has always been a hero of mine. He lived in a time where he saw injustice in the world and instead of blaming others for his problems, he stood up and decided to do something about it. He was verbally and physically assaulted for his efforts, he spent time in jail and yet he still held firm to what he thought was right. He did this through communication instead of violence.

Many times, people think that MLK Jr. Day is only for people of color. Nothing could be further from the truth. The issue of equal rights that inspired MLK Jr. to step up and make a change is something that is everyone’s responsibility and something that we should all be inspired by. Racism is inappropriate coming from anyone, regardless of the color or nationality of the speaker.  

There are times when I have heard someone say, “Hey I have a joke for you.” Then they start to look around and turn their head side to side. It’s at that point that I walk away. If a joke is so offensive that you have to see who is around before you tell it, then I don’t want to hear it.

Why would anyone assume that just because I happen to be a white male that I am interested in hearing jokes or statements that are disrespectful to another gender or race? If that is the case, then I assure you that you have misjudged me.

I really don’t understand why race has to play a role in anything. It’s really not important. Why would anyone care what’s on the outside when what makes a person deemed to be good or bad is on the inside? How can anyone justify feeling better or less than anyone else based on skin color, especially when we have zero control over it? Racism is truly an ignorance present only in humans.  

A dog couldn’t care less what the race is of its owner is or about the color of another dog’s fur. They love unconditionally based on how they are treated. Too bad humans aren’t that smart. 

I also don’t believe that anyone should receive anything, or for that matter be denied anything, based solely on race. Everything should be earned by anyone who receives it. There is no substitute for hard work and no one is going to give you anything.

King is famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech. Well, I also have a dream. I want our community to be free. In the words of Garth Brooks, “When the last thing we notice is the color of skin and the first thing we look for is the beauty within, then we shall be free.”


Jack Godbey is a resident of Danville and is a published author. He can be reached at